President of Departs After Productive State Visit to The Bahamas

Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie said more visits to the northern region of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) must be made by other leaders of CARICOM so that their faces will be known and the concerns that impact all of CARICOM will be brought to the forefront.

The Prime Minister was speaking at the press conference before the departure of the President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana and the current Chair of CARICOM His Excellency Brigadier David A. Granger, Saturday, March 4, 2017 in the VIP Lounge at the Lynden Pindling International Airport.

The President made a three-day State Visit to The Bahamas from March 2 – 4, 2017.

Prime Minister Christie said that The Bahamas, like other countries in the region, is also grappling with issues of great consequence, “particularly with respect to securing a future for the young people and having them know at this stage of their lives that every effort is being made to integrate them into a Bahamas and into a region that is pitched towards prosperity and security.”

The President’s travelled with an Official Party which included Vice-President and Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon. Carl Greenidge; Minister of Business the Hon. Dominic Gaskin; Minister of Agriculture the Hon. Noel Holder; Head of CARICOM Unit, Foreign Affairs, Charlene Pheonix; the President’s Aide-de-Camp, Major Mark St. Clair; Deputy Superintendent of Police, John Barker; Political Assistant to the President, William Cox and Press Relations Officer to the President, Lloyda Garrett.

President Granger explained that this was an economic mission for him and his Official Party despite the fact that they have not come away with any written agreements.  “We have come away with a deep understanding of several of the major issues that we wanted to deal with during our visit.”

Referring to the issue of the economy, the President said that everybody wants to have a good understanding of the bread and butter issues that affect them.

He said the Caribbean is a fragmented region and it is only in economic cooperation that its people can be provided with the good life.

“What we saw in Grand Bahama, and in The Bahamas as a whole, was a sincere and successful effort by the Perry Christie Government to deal with the economic issues; and in this regard I believe that The Bahamas has set an example to the rest of the Caribbean as to how we can transform smallness and poverty into economic power.

“So we take away that lesson from The Bahamas that smallness does not necessarily mean weakness and we like what we saw, it might just be contained to the terminals, it might just be shipyards; but we also saw at the second level –and I would like to mention this too — the work that is being done in education.”

President Granger said another issue of great importance to CARICOM is the environment.

He said the Caribbean is scattered over a vast sea space.  “We are all vulnerable to the effects of rising sea levels as a result of global warming.  This is an area in which we have to cooperate more because if we do not, our voices will not be heard.”

The President noted that in this regard, CARICOM has been a leader in the world to make sure that the Paris Agreement, adopted on December 12, 2015, reached a level that it had not before.

“We have to combine our voices if we are to be heard in this global community, and I am convinced that not only the Eastern Caribbean but also the Northern and Western Caribbean made a very important contribution to the world environmental consciousness.  In this regard, The Bahamas played a very important role.”

The President said there is no doubt that the Government of The Bahamas has shown the way for small States, and it is an example for other countries.

“I want to emphasise that in some areas particularly in areas of economic development and eco-tourism, we could learn from the tremendous years of experience and the breadth of expertise that we saw in The Bahamas to develop our tourism product,” President Granger said.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration the Hon. Fred Mitchell; Director General in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Sharon C. Brennen-Haylock; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Sheila Carey and other Government officials were present at the press conference, which took place before the President and the Official Party attended a brief departure ceremony.

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